Ahmedabad: How the day 3 of the first Test panned out.
A tale of two innings
"They could not put bat to ball, the pitch seemed a rank turner, Ashwin and Ojha spun a web around them". This was all that was said to describe the England batting in the first innings. Cometh the second innings, things had changed. Commentators pinned the 'ease' of scoring down to a 'heavy roller'. The pitch surely was turning but the turn was as slow as they can get. It could also be some complacency on India's part. Though the visitors still trail by 219 runs yet India's 'positive' declaration may just come to haunt them. What if England repeat the Ashes 'torture' when they toured the Aussies in 2010-11? In the first Test at Brisbane then, 'Barmy Army' scored just 260 but came back with a 517/1 declared in the second to draw that game. Later they won the Ashes 3-1.
Ojha, Ojha everywhere
Pragyan Ojha not only took 5 wickets in England's first innings but also was the pick of all the bowlers in the match, till now that is. His morning spell to Kevin Pietersen was one that all Test connoisseurs would not want to miss. KP skipped and hopped, run-outs were missed, stumping went abegging, fours were hit, Indian team would have begged for DRS and then Pietersen was finally bowled neck-and-crop. And then Ojha was also on a hat-trick after Ian Bell's moment of madness.
Even in England's second innings, the classical left-armer was in the limelight. If not for BCCI's stubbornness, Ojha might have had captain Cook, for he was literally plumb lbw in the 24th over. Ojha almost also gave India a major scare when diving on an Ashwin delivery, he landed awkwardly on his arm.
Y u no raise ur finger
It is definitely true that India is extremely reluctant to use the decision review system but that does not mean that it should go against them while giving decisions. A few of those were 'dead ducks' - in the first innings, Bresnan lbw off Zaheer, Anderson lbw of Ashwin and in the second innings, Cook's lbw off Ojha. India did not help themselves too when a Umesh Yadav yorker had Tim Bresnan right in front but strangely, no appeal ensued. Then there were a few dropped chances, few nearly ones and shoddy fielding to add to it. It might sound as if India is under the pump in the match but sometimes ruthlessness is required to tame strong opposition. May be India lacked that today.
Complacency creeps in
India's complacency was evident, as also pointed out by Sunil Gavaskar while commentating, when Zaheer Khan was busy dropping sitters and giving away fours when at most two was in the offing during England's first innings. When England were seven wickets down, in typical fashion, fields were spread and despite being under pressure, the visitors managed to get some respite. This is really not to demean England but the attitude was lacking on home team's part. For figures, England were batting on 132/7 in 61 overs and the next 13-odd overs cost India 66 runs.
Lucky Patel, unlucky Patel
Samit Patel might have been extremely lucky when England handed him another Test cap, despite Monty Panesar's presence. He was then luckier when he batted prior to Prior. But the real luck was awaiting him when on Ashwin's ball, Patel was trapped right in front. Why he was not given out remains a mystery. Too much luck?
Well, Umesh Yadav and Aleem Dar had other plans. It will probably be harsh on the Pakistani umpire but that was sliding down. May be he made up for it by not giving others.